Whether it's on a stream, lake or tailwater, my heart beats
a little faster at the thought. Trout fishing season has a way of
creeping up on you. In many places snow is still on the ground.
Ice crinkles the edges of lakes. Your mind tells you, "It can't
be spring yet."
Ah, but it is. Get out your favorite rod. Clean it from tip to
grip. A little lava soap and a sponge will do wonders for the
cork. (So much you may think you have a new rod.) Dig out
your reel. Take it apart, clean it, and apply a light oil to the
moving parts. Most important, clean and treat your fly line.
Find a spot where you can string the line out. Between a
couple of trees will do. My husband, Castwell, has even run
the line from door knob to door knob, causing a spider web of
line through the house. Once the line is strung out, run your
hand along the line and inspect it. Any nicks, breaks or crummy
spots? If so, replace the line. There are a ton of new ones on
the market. Most of the new lines are in the 'special purpose'
category. Check them out, you may find an even better one
for your use.
We fish year-round. Unfortunate in a way. I miss the magic
of opening day as we once knew it. Castwell and I grew up
fishing in Michigan. Opening day was always the third
Saturday in April. Something about the cycle of the moon as I
recall. The weather was usually too cold, the water too high,
and the fishing the poorest of the year. Nymph fishermen had
a little better time of it, but those of us who chose to fish dry
flies had little to brag about.
Some of the real fishing nuts would take a trip to their
favorite stream a week or so before opening to scout it out.
Probably a useless endeavor, but a lot of wives were glad to
get the men folk out of the house. Reports would filter in.
"High and muddy." "There are more trees down this year."
"There was some construction, and the stream has narrowed
down." Doom and gloom.
But we went anyway. Roads into campgrounds could be
awful. If there was late snow, some camps would not even be
open. Backroads into the best secret spots were impassable
mud holes. If the weather had been unseasonably warm, the
early hatches would already be over. Weather forecasts were
listened to with expectation. Sunshine? We hoped. Nothing
worse than fighting rotten conditions to get there, and then
have to fish in a cold, unrelenting rain. An opener is always
chancy at best.
The faithful were always there. Rarely did we plan on
fishing with any certain people. It just happened. An annual
renewal of friendships, catching up, and comparing notes.
Same-minded people sharing the riches of the time and place.
Our favorite spot was a place on the main stream of
Michigan's AuSable River called Keystone Landing. It's a large
campground, with lots of pines and a superb view of the river.
We fished right there, and took forays to other branches of
the AuSable. Conditions might be better somewhere else. Sort
of like the grass is greener. Mostly the whole region was the
same, but it was all part of the ritual.
None of opening day is about catching fish. You probably
figured that out by now. It is about hope, and a celebration of
spring. Or at least having gotten through another winter. It is
a time to renew old friendships, and to renew our own spirit.
Feeling the water flowing around a pair of waders is a
reassurance that the river — and our lives — continues on. We
know the fishing will improve. There is faith that our own lots
in life will improve too. And so they have. ~ LadyFisher
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!